It’s likely that you know someone with developing skin cancer or someone who has undergone treatment for it. That’s because it’s the most common type of cancer in the United States— fortunately, it’s also the most easily treated when it’s discovered early. There are different types to be aware of and watch out for during your regular at-home or professional screening, and here’s a guide to keep in mind.
This type is the most commonly talked about, because it requires some monitoring of your existing moles, freckles, or skin pigmentation. The biggest indicator of this type is any unusual change in the mole or pigmentation regarding color, border, or size. This usually means that cancerous activity has begun, resulting in the change in appearance. If you have many existing large freckles or spots, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily cancerous, but you should be sure to have them checked regularly to ensure you’re not at risk.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Although you might hear more about Melanoma, this type is the most frequently occurring. It often looks like a small sore or lesion in the skin that might look shiny, red, and similar to an infected cut or scratch. Fortunately, this type doesn’t normally spread and can be easily removed, for which there are a large selection of methods available. Unfortunately, it has a risk of reoccurrence after a few years, and locations on the nose and scalp are at even higher risk.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This type can be the most obvious and unsightly. It can manifest as a bump on the skin similar to a wart that is prone to bleeding and crusting. They can feel scaly and rough and appear like an open sore with a raised border and scabbed surface. Although any definite causes are not entirely known, individuals with compromised immune systems seem to be most susceptible to this type, and there may be some link to heredity. The best way to treat this type is to catch it early.